December 23, 2012 - From Taltal, I rode to La Serena and paused for a few days. It was a comfortable and warm stop. Interesting conversations with pair of New Zealand lawyers, just starting on their careers, lasted well into the night a few times.
La Serena is a beach town, so I made the obligatory pilgrimage to the beach to observe sand and water, personally unmoved by the combination that makes people flock to such destinations.
A walk around town resulted in a meager collection of pictures, although the local museum had a few worthy items.
From La Serena, the road continued south to Santiago. The main road in Chile is quite nice and doesn't differ in quality from anything you would find in North America or Europe.
Gas is about as expensive and a diet pop at the local Shell Select convenience store sets you back about $1.5, similar prices to back home. The only thing vastly more expensive are the hotels. Travel is certainly not getting cheaper.
Santiago was the next stop. An earlier inquiry led to a decent hostal where I parked the bike for a few days. One of the pursuits was a new tire. After twenty one thousand kilometers, it was time to retire the Shinko rear tire. It had another few thousand kilometers of life left on it, but finding a decent replacement further south might be less convenient.
Santiago disappointed a bit in that I had a more romanticized view of it somehow. It's just a big city with a few decent buildings and a nice fine art museum.
In Santiago I met up again with Jan who was temporarily distracted by a woman he'd encountered in Columbia and we rode on further south, direction Chillan and Villarrica.